Developing a Regional Cyber Ecosystem in Beaufort County
Presentation by Warren Parker,
Chairman and Executive Director, South Coast Cyber Center
On February 23, 2022, Col. Parker made a presentation about the South Coast Cyber Center at the GIC General Membership meeting.
Col. Parker described the South Coast Cyber Center as a public/private collaboration to establish centers of academic excellence in cyber defense and cyber security and to develop a regional cyber ecosystem in Beaufort County. The collaboration includes USCB, TCL, the Beaufort Digital Corridor, and the Beaufort Economic Development Corporation.
Cyber security is a major challenge for businesses, hospitals, and governmental entities; it also presents a major opportunity for our region to grow high-wage, high-skill jobs. Our region has many advantages: quality of life, great local talent pool, many retired military personnel, USCB and TCL, and proximity to navy and army cyber centers.
The Center’s vision is to be the preeminent leader for cybersecurity in the region, leveraging unique advantages for agility and collaboration. Its goal is to develop a four-year cybersecurity major at USCB and an associate degree program at TCL as well as additional efforts in the Beaufort Digital Corridor and with the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation.
Since its creation, the Center has made significant progress: recruited an exceptional advisory board, begun an academic excellence endorsement process, developed working relationships with army and navy cyber centers, started classes at USCB, and engaged students at all levels in the Beaufort County School District.
Together with its partners, the Center received a $1.3 million grant which will allow it to develop and refine its plans for education, begin to incubate cyber startups, attract cyber firms to the region, and focus on workforce development. The State Legislature has also provided the Center $450,000 to implement its vision.
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